Donald Penn is apparently on his way to visit with the Raiders brass as we speak. I'd like to think there's no way Reggie will let this man leave their complex without a contract at this point in Free Agency, but nothing's a given with this franchise. I'm not sure there's a better option for LT left without burning/trading a draft pick- maybe I'm wrong?
Now I'm not going to sit here and proclaim Donald Penn a savior for this team. I'm not telling you he's unquestionably a better option than Saffold. I'm not saying the Raiders signing Penn means all is forgiven for Davis and Reggie. But I am saying this...
Penn was ranked as the 16th best Tackle in football before last season. Over the years he's gotten himself in trouble because of weight issues, but grading out as the 16th best Tackle while playing for literally one of the worst offenses in football isn't too shabby. Penn will be 31 compared to Saffold at 26, so he's hardly a longterm solution at LT.
Much of the football media wondered why in the hell the Raiders would pay Saffold lucrative LT money when he hadn't done much to prove he could actually play that position at a high level. Throw in the fact that Saffold has missed upwards of 15 games in 4 seasons so far in his career because of injuries - add that to the shoulder issues which supposedly failed his physical - and I have to wonder if Donald Penn would really be that much of a downgrade at all? Penn has never missed a game and has always been considered a true LT. Don't forget that 16th overall grading before 2013 either.
Let me be clear: I didn't foresee the Raiders having to settle with Roger Saffold or Donald Penn at the beginning of this offseason. Nobody did - not with the money we had and a guy like Veldheer being taggable. I wouldn't have been happy with Saffold at LT and I won't be thrilled with Penn either.
But given the circumstances, I think Donald Penn is the guy the Raiders must absolutely sign. I didn't watch a ton of Rams or Bucs games - shit, I didn't watch any at all - but at least Penn is a durable and true LT compared to the oft-injured and project Saffold. Much cheaper as well.